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ChartCipher’s Analysis of Billboard’s Streaming Songs Chart for 2023: Hip-Hop & Pop on Top

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What were the most notable highlights regarding the sonic characteristics of hits on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart in 2023?

A.I.-powered hit song analytics platform ChartCipher released its first report Thursday (Feb. 1), spotlighting key findings from Streaming Songs charts dated Jan. 7 through Dec. 30, 2023.

In October, ChartCipher launched publicly, as announced jointly by MyPart and Hit Songs Deconstructed. The platform utilizes analytics from 10 of Billboard’s most prominent charts dating to the turn of the century: the Billboard Hot 100, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, Hot Rock & Alternative Songs, Pop Airplay, Country Airplay, Streaming Songs, Radio Songs and Digital Song Sales.

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Here are three takeaways from Chart Cipher’s initial report, reflecting the Streaming Songs chart for 2023.

Hip-Hop & Pop on Top

Hip-hop and pop were the top genres on Streaming Songs over 2023, each represented in 27% of all entries on the survey in that span. Also in double-digits, country claimed a 20% share and rock, 19%, followed by R&B/soul (9%), Latin (6%) and dance/electronic (3%).

Beyond their joint win, pop has remained largely steady this decade, while hip-hop has receded, ChartCipher notes. Hip-hop has dropped from a 58% showing in 2020 to 48% (2021) and 43% (2022), prior to its further fall in 2023; pop placed at 23%, 28% and 28% in 2020-22.

Meanwhile, “Country and rock were the biggest gainers of 2023,” according to ChartCipher’s research. “Country’s prominence more than doubled compared to 2022, largely thanks to an influx of hits by Morgan Wallen, Taylor Swift and Zach Bryan. Rock followed right behind, almost double its 2022 share.”

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Brighter Days

“While darker timbres” – songs’ overall tones – “remain the most common among streaming songs, they’ve been in decline since 2020, dropping from 65% to just 42% in 2023,” ChartCipher reports of titles on the Streaming Songs chart. “In contrast, songs with brighter timbres have been on the rise, increasing to 37% of songs in 2023, their highest level in over a decade.”

Per ChartCipher, the shift is due “in part to the decline of hip-hop production influences on the chart.”

‘A Major Surge in Major Keys’

“From 2019 to 2022, songs written in major and minor keys ran neck and neck on the Streaming Songs chart,” ChartCipher reports. “However, 2023 saw a major surge in major keys,” likewise “due in part to the decline of hip-hop, a genre that commonly favors minor tonalities.”

Major-key Streaming Songs hits outpaced minor-key entries 66% to 34% for 2023. Titles on the chart in major keys continued climbing, from 51% finishes in both 2022 and 2021 and 46% in 2020.

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